Scotland retains quarantine restrictions on Spain and Serbia
Tourists travelling to Scotland from Spain will have to continue to quarantine, Nicola Sturgeon said as she rejected some countries on the UK Government’s list of air bridges.
Speaking at her daily briefing on the virus, the Scottish First Minister said the 14-day quarantine restriction will be lifted on July 10 for people returning or visiting from 39 countries with a low prevalence of Covid-19, including Germany, Norway and Malta.
Other countries which have a lower or not significantly higher prevalence of the virus than Scotland – including France, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland – will also be included on the list.
But she said the restriction will not be lifted for Spain or Serbia.
She said the “difficult decision” had been driven by the evidence.
“I know how many people from Scotland enjoy travelling to Spain and I know how much we love welcoming Spanish tourists,” she said. “My hope is these restrictions can be relaxed soon, and possibly very soon.”
While Spain is not currently on the approved list, the First Minister said that will be kept under regular review to see if cases of the virus there decrease enough.
She also said that if necessary data becomes available, the Scottish Government would consider accepting people travelling from Spanish islands such as the Canaries or Ibiza.
She said there will not be “a way around” the quarantine rules by flying into English airports, because Scottish health officials will have the details of those who are travelling back into the UK.
Ms Sturgeon also emphasised that those who travel to Scotland from countries on the approved list will still have to adhere to the latest social distancing and hygiene measures.
And she warned quarantine measures could be reimposed if virus cases begin to spike again.
Ms Sturgeon said she hopes the agreement will be reciprocal, with travellers from Scotland able to go to the approved countries without the need to quarantine.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport welcomed clarity on an issue he said had “dragged on far too long”.
But he added: “However it does still pose some serious questions and threats to the industry with the exclusion of Spain.
“This is one of Scotland’s biggest and most important destinations for inward and outward tourism, and that impacts on airline decisions about where to base their fleet. We hope to see this resolved quickly.”
The First Minister said the prevalence of the virus in the Scottish population is currently 28 in every 100,000 people.
“We’re not yet at the stage where we can say we’ve virtually eliminated the virus in the community, but that prize is clearly attainable and brings with it the prospect of a brighter future and more sustainable recovery,” she said.
But she warned the prevalence of the virus is higher elsewhere, including in the rest of the UK where 180 people per 100,000 have the virus.
She added: “This is relevant to the decisions that we take in relation to quarantine.”
Ms Sturgeon also gave the latest Covid-19 figures for Scotland.
She said a total of 2,490 patients have died after testing positive for coronavirus, up by one from 2,489 on Tuesday, and 18,309 people have tested positive for the virus, up by seven from 18,302.
The National Records of Scotland earlier revealed 4,173 people have died with Covid-19 under its weekly measure, which records all deaths with a suspected or probable case of the virus involved.